Bosses let employees work despite illness

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Management survey: Every third manager lets sick employees work

A recent survey by the personnel consultancy LAB & Company showed that every third boss lets his employees work, even though they are obviously sick. According to this, only two out of three superiors send their employees home if they complain of cough, runny nose or fever. 18 percent of bosses even praise the commitment of their sick employees. And some want to offer bonuses to reduce sick days.

For many employers, an employee's illness does not mean that the sick can stay at home. In a survey of executives and entrepreneurs, 17 percent said they "think it's good" when employees come to work despite a flu or fever. This was the result of a study by the personnel consultancy LAB & Company and researchers from the Coburg University of Applied Sciences.

Let work despite illness
A total of 381 senior employees from various hierarchical levels participated in a survey study. Around 92 percent of the participants surveyed were male managers. The aim of the study was to find out how managers react to the illness of their subordinates and how they deal with their work ethic and health. It came to light that supposed “virtues” are still booming in companies. Because many bosses let their employees work, even though they show clear signs of illness. The head of the study was also “frightened” by the results. Obviously, "presence in the workplace in Germany is still considered a performance and career criterion - even if this is at the expense of one's own health," said Professor of Social Work and Health at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Eberhard Nöfer.

During the course of the study, managers should imagine certain situations that can happen in one way or another in reality. Various signals such as "important employee" or "very urgent project" were also incorporated. Several answers were possible. For example, one question is: "You and your team are working on a very urgent project. An important employee comes to work with a feverish cold. What are you doing?"

"Anyone who stays despite an illness identifies with the company"
After all, two thirds of the respondents responded to this question consistently in terms of the health of the employee. They would also send home an "urgent project" and be it an "important employee" without discussion for the healing process. However, 26 percent of the superiors said that they would try to move the employee to the “home office” and set up a home office. 14 percent chose the answer: "Our employees are grown up and can decide for themselves what is right for them" and around 18 percent thought that they would like it if the employee stayed because it would make it clear that the "employee identified with his task".

Managers work long hours and pay little attention to their health
In the second round, the managers should assess themselves. It was shown that bosses' own health is only of secondary importance. The question to be answered was: "Imagine you have a moderate cold. What do you do?" Only about nine percent stated that they would stay at home and thus restore full working capacity and health. The majority, namely said: "I would still go to work".

The attitude to your own health also matches the career opportunities in your own company. 63 percent of those surveyed stated that primarily employees are appointed to managerial positions who have particularly long working hours. This does not necessarily have to do with an excessive work craze, but rather with a high work density. One participant emphasized that the workload could no longer be accomplished without “twelve-hour shifts”. Another said: "Good results are mostly related to the willingness to spend more time." A meta study on presentism recently came to the conclusion that an increasing number of employees in Germany are also going to work sick.

Termination or bonuses
"Does an employee have to be afraid for his job if he is on sick leave?" 17 percent of the bosses took the position that it was better to part with employees who were often sick by dismissing them. Others (8 percent) thought that rare mistakes bonuses at work were a good way to lower the sickness rate. However, the majority (81 percent) emphasized that "companies with good health management can promote the mental and physical well-being of employees". 72 percent believe that sick leave can be minimized if the working atmosphere improves.

But is it easy to improve the working atmosphere? If the work density is high and the competition between the employees is strong, it is obvious that the climate at work also suffers. Obviously, the desire for an improvement in the working atmosphere is supported by the majority of managers, but if costs have to be taken into account, the issue of well-being and well-being has been resolved by the management staff in most workplaces. The health of employees is still hardly understood as an investment and an important economic asset. "In the end, the company pays the bill for the increasing number of burnout cases, early retirement and for a declining performance of the national economy," warns Klaus Aden from the personnel consultancy LAB & Company. The demand for performance and the high density of work will soon fall on the feet not only of the economy but also of society. (sb)

Also read:
Presentism: Many go to work despite illness

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